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Patient Dumping: An Overview of the EMTALA

December 31, 2014

Patient dumping is an illegal and unethical practice that occurs when a hospital that is capable of treating a patient refuses to treat that patient, turns that patient away and/or sends that patient to another facility due to that patient’s inability to pay for essential medical care.

In 1986, Congress passed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) in an effort to prevent patient dumping and penalize the facilities that continue this practice.

Patient Dumping: Hospital Obligations per the EMTALA 

While there have been a number of amendments to EMTALA since it was initially passed, the following are the primary obligations that hospitals still have under the provisions of this anti-patient dumping law:

  • Patient dumping is an illegal practice, the details of which are spelled out by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA).

    Patient dumping is an illegal practice, the details of which are spelled out by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA).

    The obligation of screening and examining patients who are seeking emergency medical care to assess whether these people actually have an emergency medical condition (EMC) that requires immediate care – In particular, hospitals are NOT legally allowed to delay medical screening and/or care to find out if patients can pay for that care (or to verify patients’ immigration statuses in the U.S.). Once, however, a patient’s health is no longer in danger, hospitals can continue with the payment and/or insurance inquiry process.

  • The obligation of administering treatment until the EMC has stabilized – Specifically, hospitals are legally required to continue to administer the necessary care to patients until their condition is resolved, their health has stabilized and they are able to either self-administer care or continue with other care somewhere else. Here, the law also dictates that an equal level of inpatient care should be administered to all patients, regardless of their ability to pay for care.
  • The obligation of making appropriate transfers in the event that hospital doesn’t have the capacity or ability to treat patients’ emergency medical conditions.

If hospitals violate these provisions of the EMTALA, they can:

  • Be fined up to $50,000 per violation
  • Be sued by injured patients and/or their families (in the event the violation of the EMTALA resulted in severe and/or fatal health complications).

Military Medical Malpractice Lawyers at the Law Firm of Ryan & Brown: We Are Here to Help You

Have you or someone you love been the victim of patient dumping? If so, you can turn to the military medical malpractice lawyers at the Law Firm of Ryan & Brown. They have the skill and expertise to get you the justice you deserve.

Although no amount of money can ever make up for an injury or wrongful death caused by medical malpractice, the compensation we could help you recover will go a long way in covering medical costs and the pain and suffering you have endured. To encourage injured parties to learn more about their legal rights, our law firm provides free initial consultations, consideration even if another law firm has turned you down and availability 24 hours a day seven days a week.

When brave men and women like you take on the challenge of protecting our country’s freedom, they deserve the best in legal representation. At Ryan & Brown, we never charge any fees unless we are able to secure the compensation you deserve. Please call us toll-free at 1-877-695-8757 24 hours a day seven days a week. You can also email us using the online form at the upper right-hand side of the screen.

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